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Samsung unit considers $673m solar power plants in Texas

A flag bearing the logo of Samsung flutters at half-mast in front of its office building in Seoul, South Korea.   © Reuters

CALIFORNIA (Reuters) -- A unit of Samsung C&T is considering investing $673 million in building solar power plants in Texas, aiming to start commercial production in December 2023, documents reviewed by Reuters showed.

The solar facilities will be located in the Milam county, Texas, the documents showed. The county is less than a two-hour drive to Samsung Electronics' chip factory in Austin where the South Korean firm is considering building a new $17 billion chip plant.

With a combined capacity of about 700 megawatts, the solar power factories will start construction in June 2022, according to the documents.

A Samsung C&T official told Reuters that it is currently "proceeding approval procedures with the state" but there are no current discussions with Samsung Electronics regarding the project.

The appeal of solar and wind power is growing quickly as countries around the world transition from fossil fuels to cleaner renewable sources of power to stop global warming.

President Joe Biden's administration wants all U.S. power to come from non-carbon-emitting sources like nuclear and renewables by 2035. South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday pledged to end all new financing for overseas coal projects and would soon set a more ambitious schedule for slashing carbon emissions.

Samsung C&T Corp in October said it decided to halt any new coal-related investments and projects.

Chipmakers like Samsung Electronics, Intel and TSMC have pledged to boost use of renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint.

Chip manufacturing, which requires large amount of energy as well as gases and chemicals, accounts for most of the carbon output attributable to data centers and mobile phones, according to a research by Harvard University, Facebook Inc. and Arizona State University.

Samsung Electronics and other chipmakers earlier this year suffered from plant suspensions as a result of winter storm and power crisis in Texas.

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